Here are the bullet points:
- Rina Sawayama was born in Japan and then moved to the UK as a child, and has been living there for 25 years.
- Rina is signed to a UK record label and the album is recorded and mixed in the UK.
- You need a British passport to qualify for the Mercury Prize and the Brit Awards, the 2 biggest music awards in the UK.
- Rina does not have a British Passport because dual citizenship is banned for Japanese citizens.
- Rina was declared ineligible for the top 2 British music awards.
Rina said “[As an immigrant], you get to a level when you don’t have to worry about your nationality and your status and whether you fit into this country. Things like that bring into sharp focus, like, whether I am even British. It’s just very upsetting.”
“I’m signed to a UK label,” Rina says. “I’ve lived here uninterrupted for the last 25 years. I’m only tax registered in this country. The whole album was recorded in the UK as well as in LA. It was mixed in the UK. My lyrics are in English, except for one verse in one song.”
As a half-Japanese blogger I do not appreciate this one bit. Rina has almost literally spent her entire life in the UK, and you’re gonna tell her she’s not British? That would be like someone telling me I’m not American when I was raised on Flaming Hot Cheetos and Nerd Ropes.
And how dumb of a PR move is this for the Brit Awards? The world is demanding change and your response is to deny a British-Japanese woman who’s lived in the UK for 25 years her dream of competing for the 2 most prestigious awards in her field, because of a technicality? Way to promote a positive environment for diversity to thrive…
Also this is ELTON JOHN’S favorite album of the year… that’s SIR ELTON JOHN. As in… the KNIGHT, Elton John.
Here’s Rina’s response on her Instagram today:
Rina is demonstrating some true leadership by taking this problem on to prevent future generations from going through what she’s going through:
Even though all of her family lives in Japan, Rina almost considered giving up her Japanese citizenship, because she wanted to be a UK Citizen so badly. “But then I was like, it won’t solve anything. I fundamentally don’t agree with this definition of Britishness. I think I’m really British, and I don’t like just sorting out a symptom of something and leaving the cause to someone else to deal with.”
And I for one am proud to see Japanese people from around the world taking steps forward like this for change. We stand with you Rina!